New Delhi– Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said that governments scheme Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PMJAY) has been a game changer in India’s healthcare sector.

“Many people from the weaker sections avoided hospital treatment in order to avoid the burden of an unbearable payment. Today, 40 per cent of India’s poorest are assured of a treatment in a hospital at the cost of public expenditure,” Jaitley wrote in his blog.

The Ayushman Bharat Scheme, which was launched on September 23, 2018, has completed 100 days. The scheme eyes providing benefit to 50 crore people by providing a cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation through a network of Empanelled Health Care Providers (EHCP).

“This will lead to more hospitals, especially in Tier II and III cities, and those with better equipment. Health sector jobs are set to increase. PMJAY will help create an accountable health system because beneficiary feedback is an integral part of its implementation,” Jaitley said.

In the first 100 days, more than six lakh patients have been provided hospital treatment so far while around five lakh claims have availed of the scheme, for which payment has been released. This averages 5,000 claims per day for the first 100 days.

“No patient had to pay a single rupee. Thus, once awareness of the scheme increases, it is anticipated that in the next few years, almost one crore-plus families will benefit each year,” the Finance Minister stated.

The total number of hospitals covered by this scheme are both government hospitals and private hospitals. About 30 states and Union Territories have signed an MoU and started working on implementing the mission.

“More than 50 per cent of the implementing hospitals are in the private sector. Thus, a patient can enroll himself in empanelled hospital and get himself hospitalised up to charges of Rs 5 lakh in a totally cashless and paperless manner,” Jaitley noted. (IANS)